REVIEW: Pepperidge Farm Cinnamon Chocolate Milano Cookies

Pepperidge Farm Cinnamon Chocolate Milano Cookies

Pepperidge Farm’s Cinnamon Chocolate Milano Cookies are a season-appropriate variety of the famous cookie. They feature a layer of semi-sweet chocolate and another layer of cinnamon-flavored white confection between two crispy wafers. It’s something I’m surprised the brand hasn’t done before. Because Milano cookies have been around for decades and the sweet spice has been around for millenniums.

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The aroma that comes out of the packaging makes me want to shove the entire contents into my mouth and then hoard whatever stock there is at my local Target. But, that’s no longer the case after eating them, which is what you’re supposed to do with cookies and not sniff them like the hair of the person in front of you on a crowded bus.

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The amount of cinnamon and its flavor can get a bit unusual. There’s initially a nice balance between the chocolate and cinnamon, but then the spiciness starts to build. At that moment, my mind thinks that it’s going to start falling into Red Hots candy or Big Red gum territory. The build-up doesn’t go over to that burning, cheap cinnamon side. But because it’s so close, the taste that lingers in my mouth after eating one is similar to the flavor that stays after spitting out a chewed piece of Big Red.

The cookies have actual cinnamon, but, to be honest, the aftertaste kind of ruins the crispy snack for me. If this were an Oreo, that cheap cinnamon would be appropriate. But, the Milano is marketed as sophisticated and the Big Red-like aftertaste doesn’t make me think that.

If Pepperidge Farm wants to sell a Mexican Hot Chocolate Milano, it could just repackage this, and most people won’t know. Heck, in the same amount of time it takes for the cheap cinnamon flavor to fade completely, I did the graphic design work for a Mexican Hot Chocolate Milano. You’re welcome, P.F.!

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I can’t say I 100 percent enjoyed these Cinnamon Chocolate Milano Cookies. They’re okay, but my wife’s office is going to get whatever leftovers I have. I was hoping for something that would be more like a cinnamon bun and less like cinnamon gum.

Purchased Price: $2.99
Size: 7 oz.
Purchased at: Target
Rating: 5 out of 10
Nutrition Facts: (2 cookies) 130 calories, 7 grams of fat, 4 grams of saturated fat, 5 milligrams of cholesterol, 35 milligrams of sodium, 16 grams of carbohydrates, less than 1 gram of fiber, 9 grams of sugar, and 1 gram of protein.

REVIEW: Pepperidge Farm Milano Strawberry Chocolate Cookies

Pepperidge Farm Milano Strawberry Chocolate Cookies

When I heard Pepperidge Farm was making a new strawberry chocolate Milano, I was sure it was for Valentine’s Day. Red velvet and strawberry are the kings of amorous flavors (recently, at least), and the timing’s right.

But the packaging gives no indication that the Milano Strawberry Chocolate Cookies are a limited edition or Valentine version. All there is is a little yellow “NEW!” banner on the front. This new cookie joins the Pepperidge Farm lineup in a rather unobtrusive manner.

The cookie portion is a typical Milano -— crunchy, simple wafers bolstered by its semisweet chocolate. Pepperidge Farm would have you call this “Strawberry Chocolate,” but the small font on the front indicates that it’s actually “Strawberry Flavored.”

What’s new is a light pink layer next to the chocolate, colored by beet juice and annatto extract. It’s a nice fruity flavor that reminds me of strawberry milk. As the “Flavored” on the package indicates, there is no actual strawberry in the ingredients, but there are no artificial flavors, only natural flavors. I don’t know enough about food science to know if that means anything.

The strawberry chocolate cookie does exactly what it sets out to do. I taste the strawberry, but it’s not overwhelming, and the flavor works. I really have no complaints.

At the same time, however, I don’t have any particular accolades. The flavor doesn’t amaze me with its goodness. I wouldn’t say it’s better or worse than other Milanos, just a little bit different. The back of the package says, “Milano: Irresistible. So why resist?” These may or may not be irresistible; that’s a personal preference. But if you replace “resistible” with “remarkable,” it’s spot on.

(Oh, you’re telling me the word is “unremarkable,” not “irremarkable”? Fine. So be it.)

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Just for the heck of it, I cut up some strawberries and ate them with the cookies. Doing so neither detracted from nor added to the treats; the cookie dominated over the fruit in my mouth.

I like these cookies; however, I feel like they fill the role I play at a party: no one would miss me if I weren’t there, but at least I’m not annoying.

(Nutrition Facts – 2 cookies – 130 calories, 60 calories from fat, 7 grams of fat, 4 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, less than 5 milligrams of cholesterol, 35 milligrams of sodium, 16 grams of carbohydrates, less than 1 gram of dietary fiber, 9 grams of sugar, and 1 gram of protein.)

Purchased Price: $2.99
Size: 7 oz. package
Purchased at: Target
Rating: 7 out of 10
Pros: Yummy variation on the classic cookie. Tastes like strawberry milk. Nothing to complain about.
Cons: Nothing spectacular. Doesn’t use real strawberries. Unremarkable.

REVIEW: Pepperidge Farm Toasted Marshmallow Milano Cookies

Pepperidge Farm Toasted Marshmallow Milano Cookies

I’m starting to think I might have the wrong mailing address for Santa Claus.

You see, twenty years ago, I sent Santa a letter asking for a Super Soaker CPS 2000. All of the kids in my neighborhood were getting one, so I just had to get one too. I’d be blasting my friends in the face with ice cold water in no time!

But there was one problem…the Super Soaker CPS 2000 never came. Surely there was just a mistake at the North Pole Postal Service—they’re very busy during this time of year. So every December since, I’ve written Santa a letter asking for a brand new Super Soaker CPS 2000. You’re probably thinking, “Ben, you loser, you’re an adult! You can’t go around playing with Super Soakers, even if you do get one.” Ha! The joke’s on you. I’m a grown male who still writes letters to Santa Claus. Do you really expect me to care about what people think of me playing with a Super Soaker? Who’s the loser now?

Just to make sure Santa stops by my house this year, I’ll be leaving him these new Pepperidge Farm Toasted Marshmallow Milano Cookies. I hope Santa isn’t a s’mores lover; these cookies aren’t made to include any graham flavor whatsoever. Instead, Toasted Marshmallow Milano cookies are just regular Milano cookies with an additional marshmallow-flavored layer.

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Well, at least I think there’s an additional marshmallow-flavored layer. Toasted Marshmallow Milano cookies have a sugary, creamy flavor to them, but it’s hard to tell whether that’s distinctly “marshmallow” or if it’s just coming from the milk chocolate layer. Either way, it’s certainly not toasted. I’m not saying Pepperidge Farm had to dip each of these cookies in liquid smoke — that would actually be pretty disgusting — but with a name like “Toasted Marshmallow,” I would hope that these Milano cookies could have some semblance of being toasted.

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I searched for a toasted flavor in the cookie, too. No luck. It’s just the same standard Milano cookie, like a lighter shortbread. Its rich, floury-yet-buttery flavor is good, but it dominates the overall flavor of the cookie. Aside from a few lucky bites, the cookie tends to overpower the flavors within — and that is the real problem with Toasted Marshmallow Milano cookies. You can taste “marshmallow” and milk chocolate, but never together. In short, these cookies are pretty good, but not nearly as great as they could have been.

If the last twenty years have taught me anything, it’s how to deal with failed expectations. But as Pepperidge Farm just taught me, two can play that game.

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(Nutrition Facts – 2 cookies – 130 calories, 60 calories from fat, 7 grams of fat, 4 grams of saturated fat, less than 5 milligrams of cholesterol, 40 milligrams of sodium, 16 grams of carbohydrates, 9 grams of sugar, and 1 gram of protein..)

Purchased Price: $2.50
Size: 7 oz. package
Purchased at: Target
Rating: 7 out of 10
Pros: Marshmallow and milk chocolate layers are sweet and creamy. Familiar rich, buttery cookie. Learning life lessons. The North Pole Postal Service.
Cons: Not toasted. Shortbread cookie dominates the overall flavor. Still wishing for a Super Soaker CPS 2000. Passive-aggressively leaving one cookie for Santa Claus.

REVIEW: Pepperidge Farm Limited Edition Banana Chocolate Milano Cookies

Pepperidge Farm Limited Edition Banana Chocolate Milano Cookies

As I sit here gazing out at mounds of dirty snow piled as far as the eye can see, I dream of a better place.

So disillusioned, I choose to believe a bite into Pepperidge Farm’s new Banana Chocolate Milano cookie will result in a reverse York Peppermint Patty effect and I will be whisked away to beautiful Milan, Italy.

Perhaps one single bite will send me to a tropical island, where I can pluck ripe bananas straight from a tree. We’ll soon find out.

It seems wild to call a cookie that is shelved right next to fish-shaped crackers aimed at children “decadent,” but that’s the word that comes to mind when I think of a Milano.

I’m of the opinion you can’t screw up a Milano. I’ve tried plenty of varieties and liked em all. I’m also a massive banana groupie (that doesn’t sound right) so I have no doubts these would be winners.

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I don’t know what it is with Pepperidge Farm’s packaging, but I never seem to open it properly. After tearing the bag to shreds, I was hit with an unmistakable banana scent that perked me up. It reminded me of the smell when you walk into a bakery. I was now ready to be whisked away.

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When I took the first bite into the wafer, nothing happened. The world isn’t fair.

It tasted as if the wafer had a bit of banana flavor baked in. But I couldn’t really tell if it was the banana filling bleeding through. I’m pleading ignorance here. I think it just tasted that way since it’s such an airy wafer. That’s one of the best parts about Milano, the crunchy, but not at all dense cookie.

I put it in my mouth and inhaled it like a total weirdo. Who does that? I essentially tried to smoke a cookie. I can tell you there is a nice banana…um, air when you try to smoke a cookie. Don’t smoke cookies, kids.

It wasn’t until I hit the center that the banana flavor come out in full force.

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There’s a thin layer of banana filling with the familiar chocolate layer. It had a similar texture to the chocolate. The bag actually refers to it as “banana flavored chocolate.”

Here’s my question: Where has “banana flavored chocolate” been my entire life? This was a revelation for me. I mean, I’m sure plenty of products have used a similar substance before, but why wasn’t I aware of it? I feel like I’ve missed so much. “Banana flavored chocolate” is awesome. I want more of this banana chocolate concoction in my life.

The banana is strong but not overly so. I think banana bread is very dependent on texture, but these should remind you of that flavor. Few things top a nice fresh slice of banana bread, but these are a great attempt at imitating the flavor in cookie form, with the added bonus of chocolate mixed in.

After the initial tasting, I kept a few aside to have with my morning coffee, and it was naturally a delicious pairing. Banana Chocolate Milano Cookies are a home run. As far as I’m concerned, Pepperidge Farm still hasn’t made a bad Milano.

(Nutrition Facts – 2 cookies – 140 calories, 60 calories from fat, 7 grams of fat, 4 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, less than 5 milligrams of cholesterol, 40 milligrams of sodium, 18 grams of carbohydrates, less than 1 gram of fiber, 10 grams of sugar, and 1 gram of protein.)

Item: Pepperidge Farm Limited Edition Banana Chocolate Milano Cookies
Purchased Price: $3.59
Size: 7 oz. (about 16 cookies)
Purchased at: Stop & Shop
Rating: 9 out of 10
Pros: Banana flavored chocolate. Milano’s consistency. Airy wafer. Great for dipping. No artificial flavors or preservatives. A short reprieve from the winter blues.
Cons: No instant transportation properties in each bite. A rapidly growing cookie smoking habit. Fear of missing out on more banana flavored chocolate treats. Pain in the neck packaging. Limited edition.

REVIEW: Pepperidge Farm Limited Edition Chocolate Chili Milano Cookies

Pepperidge Farm Limited Edition Chocolate Chili Milano Cookies

During June and July of last year, Pepperidge Farm allowed Milano fans to vote for a future flavor. The candidates were mango ginger, green tea, and chocolate chili. As you’ve probably figured out from reading the title of this review, chocolate chili won and it probably did so with promises of chocolate with a spicy kick.

But after tasting it, I’m not sure it should’ve been victorious.

On the back of its package it describes the cookie as, “The perfect contrast of rich luxurious chocolate and spicy chili flavor.”

Yeah…about the “spicy chili flavor.”

If you’re a heat head, let me disappoint you by saying your internal Scoville scale won’t register anything while eating these cookies. Not even eating several of them one after another will build up a satisfying heat. There is a tickle of something that lingers, especially at the back of my throat, but I’m not sure most would consider it spicy.

Looking at the ingredients list helps explain the lack of heat. There’s no mention of any kind of chili pepper. Not even the vague “spices” is listed. But there is the even more vague “natural flavors.”

The cookies smell like chocolate cake with a hint of chili pepper. Each cookie has two thin layers of chocolate. After nibbling the chocolate at the edges, it tastes like both layers have chili pepper flavor, but it’s very faint. It becomes more so when the cookie is eaten whole. The light, crispy cookie dampens the flavor.

Pepperidge Farm Limited Edition Chocolate Chili Milano Cookies Closeup

I’m torn about these cookies.

Even with a hint of chili pepper flavor, these cookies still gave me some delight. They had a spicy cinnamon or Mexican hot chocolate vibe to them. And, they’re frickin’ Milano cookies, for goodness sake!

But, I can’t help but be disappointed with them. Seeing the words “chili” on the front and “spicy” on the back gave me expectations of the cookie reaching a level of heat that gave them a pleasant warmth.

Or, perhaps, I have it wrong about its spiciness.

The Milano is a classy cookie with a European name that’s presented in white paper baking cups. Having a cookie with an almost uncomfortable amount of heat is something the crazy food scientists at Nabisco would probably do with an Oreo cookie.

If the Milano is a reserved white ballgown and the Oreo is a sexy tight black mini dress that’s up for anything, then perhaps a Milano that burns one’s mouth would be unsophisticated.

(Nutrition Facts – 2 cookies – 130 calories, 60 calories from fat, 7 grams of fat, 4 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, less than milligrams of cholesterol, 35 milligrams of sodium, 16 grams of carbohydrates, less than 1 gram of fiber, 9 grams of sugar, and 1 gram of protein.)

Item: Pepperidge Farm Limited Edition Chocolate Chili Milano Cookies
Purchased Price:
Size: 7 oz.
Purchased at: Target
Rating: 6 out of 10
Pros: They had a faint spicy cinnamon or Mexican hot chocolate vibe to them. They’re frickin’ Milano cookies! No worries for those who are afraid of burning their mouths.
Cons: A bit disappointed they aren’t spicy spicy. Chili pepper flavor could’ve been stronger. Target exclusive.

REVIEW: Pepperidge Farm Pumpkin Spice Milano Cookies

Pepperidge Farm Pumpkin Spice Milano Cookies

The Milano cookie has always been something of an enigma for me. With its elegant yet simple design and name conjuring images of the Italian Alps, it was beyond my childhood capacity of appreciation. Later in life, after I had graduated from a packaged cookie diet consisting entirely of Oreos and Chips Ahoy, Milanos still perplexed me. A dense yet slightly chewy crumb and buttery but dark chocolate flavor pointed toward a cookie on its own plane, distinct and unabashedly unique from every other prepackaged treat.

Oh yes, and terribly delicious.

It goes without saying that we expect much from Milano cookies. When you nail the chocolate flavor better than 95 percent of the competitors, I think expectations are a given. Nevertheless I couldn’t help but wonder if that sophisticated edge would translate with the addition of pumpkin spice. It’s one thing to pair mint and raspberry with chocolate, but when you start playing matchmaker with chocolate and the sometimes ambiguous concoction of fall spices, the results aren’t always so endearing.

Examining the bag confirmed my initial skepticism, as there’s no mention of pumpkin or the usual suspects of cinnamon or brown sugar in the ingredients. Nevertheless the orange lip representing pumpkin appeared on each cookie, while an unmistakably pumpkiny aroma danced from the open bag in perfect step with aromas of shortbread and chocolate.

It’s really a scintillating aroma, one with notes of pumpkin ice cream and pumpkin loaf cake supporting the dance. Actually, it’s so great I nearly passed out of asphyxiation due to a prolonged moment of sticking my schnoz right into the bag and failing to breath anything but the glorious smell of autumn.

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The orange “cream”—for want of a better word—is thin and slightly viscous, with a texture somewhere between cream cheese on a hot day and the filling they stick inside those stacked wafer cookies. Tasting it from the lip of the cookie, it comes across as a less intense version of Philadelphia Pumpkin Spice Cream Cheese, right on down to a slightly artificial flavor that seems a bit too quiet for fall’s most iconic squash.

Artificial flavor aside, there’s a pleasantly light sweetness and lickable texture that leaves me wanting more. The problem is there really isn’t much more to be had. Even though the chocolate-to-pumpkin filling ratio is about 1:1, the pumpkin finishes a distant third in its impact. The filling and the spice together are enough to let you know we’re talking pumpkin and not just cinnamon-flavored cookies, but the milk chocolate filling and scrumptious cookie base seem unwilling to let the pumpkin intrude on their synergy.

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It’s been my experience through a quarter century of pumpkin eating that pumpkin is a very jealous flavor. It just doesn’t like playing second fiddle, much less third string. Yet in the distinct and careful balance of buttery cookie crumb and rich chocolate taste the pumpkin seems an awkward third wheel, attractive enough to want on its own, but not enough for either of the other two elements of the cookie to commit to.

It’s as if the cookie and the chocolate know what they have together, and while tempted by the pumpkin’s autumnal notes, neither flavor wants to commit to the newcomer over its tried and true other half. My God, it now occurs to me as I polish off another cookie, I have just described a twisted escapade of cookie love.

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The sophisticated chocolate taste and buttery crumb native to all Milanos make the Pumpkin Spice Milano flavor unique and tasty. Yet for such a trendsetting cookie the pumpkin spice flavor doesn’t come through enough to make it a distinctively pumpkin product, while the hints of an attractive and creamy texture mitigate it to an awkward role player. As for that role, it’s just not cast right, and despite a promising beginning and intoxicating aroma, the Pumpkin Spice Milanos failed to make me fall in love with their take on the seasonal flavor.

(Nutrition Facts – 2 cookies – 130 calories, 60 calories from fat, 7 grams of fat, 4 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, less than 5 milligrams of cholesterol, 40 milligrams of sodium, 16 grams of carbohydrates, less than 1 gram of dietary fiber, 10 grams of sugar, and 1 gram of protein.)

Item: Pepperidge Farm Pumpkin Spice Milano Cookies
Purchased Price: $2.50
Size: 7 ounces
Purchased at: Safeway
Rating: 5 out of 10
Pros: Quite possibly one of the most enjoyable smelling cookies in creation. Buttery Milano cookie. Rich milk chocolate flavor. Pumpkin flavored “cream” is slightly reminiscent of pumpkin cream cheese. That feeling you get when you buy Milanos.
Cons: Too little pumpkin filling. Slightly artificial pumpkin spice “cream.” Third wheel flavors. Death by cookie bag. Nineteenth century packaging of Milano cookies.